Pizza Rustica – Italian Easter Pie

Context: This entry comes from SW, who is a 25 year old man living in New York. He comes from a Catholic Italian American family from New Jersey, though he was born and raised in San Francisco. This photograph depicts a “pizza rustica,” or an Italian Easter pie. Though it is called a pizza and a pie, it is more like a quiche – pastry dough on the outsides, and an egg mixture filled with cold cuts and various cheeses. SW explained that his family cooks this recipe every year on Easter, as many other Italian and Italian American families do. 

Analysis: When discussing this recipe with SW, he told me that he had been talking about pizza rustica with a coworker earlier in the day. They discussed “the various ingredients that went into each of [theirs],” and noted how “you couldn’t cut into it before it cooled all the way or else you get a goopy mess, which is something you would never know unless you ‘knew.’” I find this last comment highly interesting because SW told me that he learned the recipe from the internet rather than the classic learning from a relative. Even though his family had been making pizza rustica for generations, he never got the chance to learn from his late grandmother. Because his mother never learned the recipe, he had to find an alternate route to continue the tradition: the internet. Thus, I assume that the online recipe warns its readers against cutting into the pie too early, although the performance of tradition, of not knowing unless you “know” is still important to maintaining a sense of identity. In this sense, although online recipes might take away from certain aspects of learning about traditions, it also provides the opportunity for a family to continue a tradition that had been lost by one generation who did not learn from their parents. SW tries out new types of cold cuts every year in his pizza rustica – now, he makes his own traditions.